Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Times:
Clunk, clunk, squish. That is the sound of the dead language in Roland Joffe's screenplay for "There Be Dragons" as it tramples his would-be epic of the Spanish Civil War into an indigestible pulp.
It's the kind of simplistic movie that features a benevolent chocolate maker and desk drawers containing both crucifixes and pistols. Which to choose?
There Be Dragons certainly looks lavish, from the battle scenes to the beautiful period costuming, but it's so stilted and humorless that it's almost campy.
"Inspired by true events'' the opening credits say. "Time to count the factual silverware,'' the moviegoer mutters.
A jigsaw of intimate relationships and betrayals during wartime with more than a few pieces missing.
Los Angeles Times:
The film's title, "There Be Dragons," is lifted from the way ancient maps warned of dangers to be found within uncharted territory. Joffe should have paid heed.
New York Daily News:
Joffe, working from his own script, presents the men's lives as evidence of difficult choices, but this pedantic movie is never fully invested in any of them.
New York Post:
Even actor's actor Derek Jacobi, as a Jewish factory owner, is wasted in this international muddle of a movie.
Joffe is out of depth when it comes to Escriva's religious experiences. It's clear he wants the film to show how faith works within us, but he does it by resorting to the most hackneyed imagery.
San Francisco Chronicle:
"Dragons" may have seemed less out of place three decades ago, but it would have been a bad movie then as well.
Dragons may not be perfect, but it plays to the helmer's strengths, demonstrating an increasingly rare sense of scope and pageantry best served by the bigscreen.
The geriatric pacing, flat-footed Old Hollywood pastiche, and Joffe's inexplicable penchant for tear-jerking Catholic mysticism make Dragons more punishing than a hundred Hail Marys.
I like grandeur and richly nuanced storytelling. I also like lobster bisque. But I don't want to drink a gallon of it in a single sitting.